Snack Excursions in Colombia

I’ll admit it. I’d be happy to snack all day and skip big sit down meals most of the time (Confession #2: I like to eat standing up. What scandal!).

As we zigzag our way through the country, we get to sample a bounty of tasty treats. And it seems every time we sit down for coffee, some kind of delicious snack appears before us, whether it’s a savoury empanada or a cheesy buñuelo (a fried cheese fritter). If you do have an appetite for cheese, there is also the Pandebono, a traditional cheese bread (often made from yucca flour and cornmeal). As Scott Wilson astutely notes of Colombians to our guide: “You like your cheese, don’t you.”

While horseback riding outside the colonial town of Villa de Leyva (north of Bogotá), we stop off at a food stand, where we indulge ourselves in oblea (wafer) con arequipe (dulce de leche), dulce de mora, crema de leche—basically, everything that is fat, sweet, and yummy (I’ll take two, por favor!). Of course, there is cheese in it, too.

One of my favourite snacks of all time (without cheese), which can be found in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, is fried plantains.

Did I forget to mention that cacao regularly makes its appearance in the Colombian diet? A pretty common treat around Bogotá is cheese dropped into hot chocolate. After a minute or two, fish it out with a spoon and gobble away. If you are a chocolate and cheese lover like me, then you’ll likely find this a winning combo.

If you want to upscale your snack, try the ceviche de camarones (shrimp), which can be found in restaurant/bars, particularly along the coast.

So no matter whether you are in the north, south, east, or west of Colombia—or whether you are standing up or sitting down—you will never be far away from some seriously tasty snacks.

Text by Robert J. Brodey / Photo by Peter Angritt